Establishing classroom expectations
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Establishing classroom expectations

Hi. My name is Sally Calvert. I’m a Grade 5-6 teacher at East Ivanhoe Primary School. I’ve been teaching here for 11 years. East Ivanhoe is a comfortable middle-class area. We find that the students here are very capable, very interested in their learning. I have composite Grade 5-6. I have 16 Grade 6 students and 11 Grade 5 students. One of those students is on the autism spectrum and we have a couple of students with auditory issues, one with auditory processing issues and a couple with hearing deficit. But, on the whole, most of the students are working at level and above level. They’re quite a capable group of students. At the start of the year, I had a group of children who’d come from different grades, so I did need to actually make clear what my expectations were of them. But together as a grade, we worked on developing a set of classroom expectations about how we wanted our grade to be. We framed those positively – it wasn’t about what not to do, but what positive behaviours we wanted to see. When the students were thinking about what sort of classroom they’d like to be in, they thought about showing things like respect – what sort of behaviours they could use to show respect. So they came up with the idea about raising their hand rather than calling out. Allowing students to work without interruption and not distracting other students when they’re focused on their work. So they now have this set of expectations to guide their behaviour. I could see a few hands go up then. Thanks for remembering those lovely manners. Jack, can you think of one? -Matthew.
-BOY 1: Butter. BOY 2: His skin is as wrinkly as an elephant. As wrinkly as an elephant. Her skin was like butter. Alright, who’d like to have a go? Howard, which one would you like to choose? -Metaphor.
-OK. Do you want to come and do it for us? STUDENT: I can see an idiom, I think. -In that paragraph?
-Yeah. Fantastic. Can we come back to that later, Jack? So the class that you saw today and the smooth running of it, the way the children were respectful, the way they did move between their tasks, is, I think, a reflection of the fact that we’ve had six months now of maintaining those expectations that we set up at the start of the year. I find that I only really need to use some positive reinforcement of good behaviours to manage behaviours that maybe aren’t quite so good. So that sort of recognising someone who is listening really well, I find that the ripple effect of that is that the others all sit up and pay attention. The same with praising people who are remembering to raise their hand – that’s just a gentle reminder to others that they need to raise their hands as well. So we’ve been able to maintain those expectations that we set up at the start of the year. One of the important things, I think, in maintaining good classroom behaviours is routine. I think primary-aged students really respond to routine, to knowing what to expect from their day, knowing how you’re going to approach a lesson, and they respond to that well.

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